Should you move to a big city for a better job?

By: Martin Dasko on August 30, 2016
Article image

A friend was recently telling us how he really wanted to move to Toronto but that he was concerned about the higher cost of living. He couldn’t believe the amount of money people pay for rent. He also couldn’t believe what some nightclubs were charging for cover. The one thing he had going for him is that he has the potential for a salary increase if and when he decides to move to the big city.

Are you in the same boat? Should you move to a big city for a better job? Let’s look at what you need to consider before you take that leap.

Run the basic numbers

“The price of an avocado is way too high here.”

I recently had someone tell me about their experience moving to Toronto. They were surprised by the cost of groceries and other basics. You need to run the numbers before you even consider moving. This will give you a better idea of the kind of money you need on a regular basis.

Some of the items to consider include:

  • Cost of going out (bar entry)
  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • Transportation/Parking
  • Other regular shopping and expenses

It’s important that you know what going out and eating – even if you prepare most of your meals at home – will cost you. Part of the appeal of living in a big city is the ability to go out and try new things. We all want to say that we had the burgers at the new place down the street.

How does your potential salary compare to what you earn at your current job?

How much more are you being offered to take this new job? Is it enough to justify the moving expenses and being away from your hometown?

A salary increase of $5,000 may seem like more than enough, but spread throughout the year (and once you factor in additional expenses), you may not even feel like you’re making more money. In fact, the increase in rent might even cancel out your new pay.

How much money will you have for yourself?

Let’s say that your salary goes up $10,000 but your expenses increase by $9,000. Is it worth relocating to a big city for only $1,000 more per year? How much money are you going to have for yourself in the bigger city?

This is the most important factor because you don’t want your quality of life to decrease because you were enticed by a little bump in salary.

Moving to a big city for a better job is a serious decision. The good news is that you’re at least being offered a better job. The bad news is that you won’t always be able to save more money because of your new pay raise. On the flip side, you might want to move for better opportunities and enjoy life more.

Spend time in the new city before you move. Learn the terrain and pay attention to the realities and the costs. That way, you will know what you’re getting yourself into.